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General Information

Hypothyroidism is a condition where thyroid gland stops producing enough hormones and because of it chemical misbalance occurs. Thyroid is one of the largest endocrine gland. This butterfly-shaped organ is located in the neck area bellow Adam’s apple.

Thyroid normally produces two main hormones, thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3). These hormones are responsible for body temperature, heart rate, production of protein, exploitation of fats, and carbohydrates and overall metabolism. Also, thyroid produces hormone calcitonin that controls level of blood calcium.

Pituitary gland and hypothalamus control amount of created T-4 and T-3. First, hypothalamus signals pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which is then released in quantity based on the amount of T-4 and T-3 in the blood. Afterwards, depending on the received THS amount, thyroid adjusts production of its hormones.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

This condition may occur because of various factors, such as:

Autoimmune conditions – This is the most common cause for hypothyroidism. In autoimmune disorders immune system attacks its own cells and sometimes thyroid can be affected. These conditions are unexplainable and opinions are divided concerning the cause. Some think it has to do with genetic anomaly while others consider it occurs due to virus or bacterium. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is autoimmune condition where thyroid is inflamed because of patient’s own immune system.Hypothyroidism treatment – Patients with hypothyroidism are usually treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid drugs that may lead to lasting hypothyroidism.Radiation – Radiation therapy for head and neck cancers can also cause hypothyroidism.Surgery – Complete removal of removal of part of thyroid can affect production of hormones. In this case, treatment consists of taking thyroid hormone for life.Drugs – Various drugs can contribute to hypothyroidism therefore it is necessary to discuss with your physician about side effects of medication you are taking in case it may disturb thyroid.Rarely, hypothyroidism may result from:

Pregnancy – Hypothyroidism can sometimes be developed in women during or after pregnancy (post partum hypothyroidism) because of anti bodies production. This can harm fetus and lead to miscarriage, preeclampsia and preterm delivery if not adequately treated. Iodine deficiency – Since iodine is a mineral, which is vital for thyroid hormones production, it is added to table salt. Consequently iodine deficiency is almost non existent in US.Congenital disorder – Nearly 1 in 3000 babies in US are born with thyroid gland defect. This can be established by thyroid screening.Pituitary disorder – Sometimes pituitary gland fail to produce sufficient amount of THS due to pituitary tumor.

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